Separated by about an hour’s walk, Pak Sha O (白沙澳) and Lai Chi Chong (荔枝莊) in Sai Kung are two vibrant and unique villages. The former is a Hakka village that has been well preserved by expat tenants while the latter has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest since 1985.
Pak Sha O village, with more than a century of recorded history, is one of the few existing traditional villages in Hong Kong that is still free from the intrusion of new housing developments. It features a vast green field that is surely a welcome sight for visitors.
Built between 1911 and 1915, the Ho Residence complex, which has a watchtower, and the Ho Ancestral Hall have been recognized as Grade 1 historical buildings.
The residence is the legacy of the Ho brothers who started working as a seaman and a fireman for a British shipping company in the 1910s. They were soon promoted as supervisors.
Later they opened a recruitment agency for foreign steamships and made a fortune.
The brothers, along with many of the original residents of the village, moved to the urban areas or migrated overseas during the 1970s, and have rented out their units since the 1980s.
Expats love the place because it is there where they perceive the people’s harmony with nature. They took pains to preserve the original state of the houses as well as the old furniture left by the landlords.
Following the trail I set off to Lai Chi Chong, a rural village by the sea that forms part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark.
Around Lai Chi Chong and nearby coastal areas is a set of volcaniclastic sedimentary rock strata from the Early Cretaceous period.
Looking at the complicated geological formations from a distance, and with a bit of imagination, you will find see that it looks like a huge, half-exposed dragon that is ready to strike at high tide.
Major outcrops and sedimentary features can be seen on the beach west of Lai Chi Chong pier.
It looks like a fresh toast with a thick layer of chocolate spread. When the tide ebbs, a magnificent rocky shore unfolds before your eyes.
To go to / return from Pak Sha O: Take green minibus no. 7 at Sai Kung Market and get off at Pak Sha O. Get on the hill path and walk for about 3.5 kilometers to reach Lai Chi Chong.
Reference: Geopark website on Lai Chi Chong (with map)
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb. 19.
Translation by Darlie Yiu with additional reporting
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